Facebook starts fact checks on photos, videos

SAN FRANCISCO • Facebook said it has started fact-checking photos and videos to reduce the hoaxes and false news stories that have plagued the world's largest social media network.

The fact-checking began on Wednesday in France with assistance from news organisation Agence France-Presse (AFP), and will soon expand to more countries and partners, Ms Tessa Lyons, a product manager at Facebook, said in a briefing with reporters.

Ms Lyons did not say what criteria Facebook or AFP would use to evaluate photos and videos, or how much a photo could be edited or doctored before it is ruled fake.

The project is part of "efforts to fight false news around elections", she said.

Shares of Facebook closed up 4.4 per cent at US$159.79 (S$209.29) on Thursday. It remained down more than 13 per cent from March 16, when Facebook disclosed the Cambridge Analytica data leak and sparked fears of stricter regulation.

Facebook has tried other ways to stem the spread of fake news. It has used third-party fact-checkers to identify them, and then given such stories less prominence in the Facebook News Feed when people share links to them.

Mr Samidh Chakrabarti, another Facebook product manager, said in the briefing that the company had started to "proactively" look for election-related disinformation rather than waiting for reports from users, helping it to move more quickly.

Mr Alex Stamos, Facebook's chief security officer, said in the briefing that the company also wanted to reduce "fake audiences", which he described as using tricks to artificially expand the perception of support for a particular message, as well as "false narratives" such as headlines and language that "exploit disagreements".

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 31, 2018, with the headline 'Facebook starts fact checks on photos, videos'. Print Edition | Subscribe